/ Googled. The End of the World as We Know It — Part 2

This blog is a continuation of the one that appeared on July 2, 2012. All the facts and figures are excerpted from a terrific book entitled Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, written by Ken Auletta and published by The Penguin Press, NY 2009.

When did Google go public?

The company went public (filed an IPO) in 2004 and, for the first time, its ledger sheet became visible: an astounding $3.2 billion in revenue. The media was shocked. This would quickly zoom to $16.6 billion in 2007 with profits of $4.2 billion.

Google had become a juggernaut. It produced two-thirds of all Internet searches in the U.S. and 70% worldwide. By 2008, its index contained one trillion web pages, and according to founder Sergey Brin, every four hours Google indexed the equivalent of the entire Library of Congress.

“We began as a technology company,” says one Google executive, “but, in addition, we’ve evolved into a software, Internet, advertising and media company.

Who works at the company?

In early 2008, Google was receiving one million job applications per year and adding 150 employees per week. On their first day of work, new employees attend an all-day session where they are told how special they are. Put another way, more applicants are accepted by Harvard (7%) than are hired by Google (1%).

The hiring process at Google, in some ways, parallels the algorithmic approach to search. The company places an emphasis on SAT scores and on grades and degrees from the best colleges. Real-world experience counts less than objective measurements.

Why does everyone want to work there?

Here’s the short answer: in 2007 and 2008 Fortune magazine ranked Google “the best U.S. company to work for.” Here are few of the perks at the corporate offices in Mountain View, California:

- Free meals and snacks at a cost to Google of $70 million per year

- Lounges with pool tables and espresso machines

- Free laptop computers; employees can chose their own

- Maternity leave of five months at full salary; new Dads get seven weeks

- Almost all of the employees are allotted 20% of their time (one day) to work on projects they feel passionate about

- Finally, in 2007, Google rewarded its employees with $868.6 million in stock, a one-year increase of more than 90%

What does the future hold?

Google had a great year in 2007. Revenue soared 60% to $16.6 billion and a profit of $4.2 billion. It ended the year with offices in 20 countries and searches in 117 languages. Today, it has 70 offices in 40 countries.

However, unlike Steve Jobs, who was fired from Apple at age 30, the two Google founders, both 39 years old now, have never experienced failure. Or, as one observer says, “If Google were a person, it would have all the flaws and virtues of a classic Silicon geek. In some ways, they are very principled. But, they have this total deaf ear to certain types of issues. One of them is privacy.”

“There is nothing about Google that makes them invulnerable,” says a Harvard professor. “Remember IBM? They had 70% market share of mainframe computers. Then seemingly overnight, computing moved from mainframes to PCs.”

UPDATE: It was recently reported that Larry Page has lost his voice and will not be doing any public speaking “for the time being.” No other information was given.




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